Samsung has just sent an update to its Galaxy S6. Yes, yes, you read that right. The Korean manufacturer has deployed a new version of its OS on a phone almost 7 years old. And it is sadly exceptional.
Still using a Galaxy S6? Then it’s time to update your phone. As bizarre as it may seem, Samsung has indeed rolled out an update for its smartphone which, let’s remember, is now 7 years old and technically abandoned by the manufacturer for many years.
As noted by the site SamMobile, the Korean company has taken its old phone out of the closet to deploy a fix for the GPS. And the Galaxy S6 isn’t the only phone Samsung has pulled out of formalin. The Galaxy S7, S8, and even more obscure models like the S5 Neo or the Galaxy Alpha have also recently had the same patch.
An unexpected update
The update seems oddly out of nowhere since most of these phones are well past their expiration dates and haven’t benefited from Samsung’s software tracking for several years now. Stranger still, this GPS patch doesn’t even seem to have the latest Android security patches on board. As a result, these old mobiles remain stuck on a version of Android that is now largely outdated. Deploying such efforts for a simple GPS problem seems strange, unless Samsung took the opportunity to discreetly slip in a fix for a serious bug that would require updating the few hundred million old mobiles still in circulation.
Let’s be clear, it’s great news to see that Samsung cares about its old phones, even if it’s just a GPS fix. But this unexpected update also highlights the sad situation the Android phone market finds itself in today. Software updates for these phones released between 2015 and 2016 have long since been discontinued, forcing most owners to switch models. Still, tracking for more than 5 years isn’t infeasible, Apple and Fairphone have proven that.
Software monitoring that leaves you wondering
Obviously, Samsung does not play in the same court. The manufacturer releases dozens of phone models a year and keeping track of such material diversity is a real challenge. But this mid-2022 surprise update proves that the know-how is there and that, if Samsung put the means into it, the company would be able to provide software monitoring for its much more ambitious mobile fleet. Claiming such a follow-up is not a whim on top of that, some manufacturers manage to do it and phones updated for longer are better secure, more durable phones, and therefore ultimately, more ecological. Seeing that Samsung didn’t even take advantage of this unexpected update to at least roll out the latest security patches to its older phones is disappointing. It could have given them a second life instead of leaving them at the mercy of viruses and the like. malware passing.
Let’s be fair all the same, the Samsung of today does not necessarily look like the one of yesterday. The manufacturer now provides between 4 and 5 years of software monitoring for its latest devices. Which is better than many, many other Android manufacturers. But seeing the firm bring 7-year-old phones back to life for a silly GPS fix gives an idea of what the mobile market could be like if manufacturers took this issue seriously. An industry where durability, reliability and safety would be at the heart of all concerns. In short, an industry that is a little more environmentally sustainable.